Miami judge rules out FOIA trial, says FBI document on 9/11 funding to remain secret

By Dan Christensen, 

Miami U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga. Photo: Federal Bar Association, South Florida Chapter

Secret FBI information about who funded the 9/11 attacks will remain hidden indefinitely after a Miami federal judge reversed herself last week and decided that the FBI was not improperly withholding it from the public.

At the same time, Judge Cecilia Altonaga ruled out holding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) trial to evaluate the need for such continued secrecy nearly 16 years after the 9/11 attacks. A trial would likely have included testimony from government witnesses in support of continued secrecy as well as others like Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who co-chaired Congress’s Joint Inquiry into 9/11 and believes the FBI documents should be made public.

“The court sees no need for further facts to be elicited at trial,” Altonaga wrote in her seven-page order granting the FBI’s request to keep secret large portions of an FBI slide show titled “Overview of the 9/11 Investigation.” The FBI had argued the information was exempt from public disclosure because it “would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.”

Altonaga’s decision reversed her May 16 order that the 60-page document – referred to in court papers as “Document 22” – that was shown to the 9/11 Review Commission on April 25, 2014, should be largely opened for public inspection. The commission is also known as the Meese Commission, after its most prominent member, Reagan-era attorney general Ed Meese.

Florida Bulldog attorney Thomas Julin said the judge “should have ordered the FBI to stand trial for its decision to withhold information about its investigation.” He added that an appeal is being considered.

“The order requires the FBI to release information that was illegally redacted. That information will shed light on 9/11, but we did not get everything we wanted,” said Julin. “Much of what we did get confirmed the Bulldog’s reporting about Sarasota has been 100 percent correct and the FBI lied to the public about that. This case may be headed to the Supreme Court.”

Graham disappointed by ruling

Sen. Graham was disappointed by the judge’s ruling. He said the FBI’s 9/11 overview likely contains “important information relating to the funding of 9/11 and presumably the role of Saudi Arabia in doing so. Knowledge of these facts could change public opinion and governmental actions as to the liability of the Saudis as allies and the wisdom of us supplying them with hundreds of billions of dollars of military armaments.”

Bob Graham

Graham said, “The court essentially accepted without detailed substantiation the FBI’s assertions that techniques and procedures would potentially be compromised. I believe a trial was needed at which those unsubstantiated statements would be challenged with questions such as, ‘Over the 16 years since the events of 9/11 occurred have these techniques and procedures which proved to be so ineffective in preventing 9/11 been continued?’”

Florida Bulldog, working with Irish author Anthony Summers, first reported in September 2011 about a secret FBI investigation into a Saudi family living in Sarasota who abruptly departed their home in an upscale, gated community about two weeks before the 9/11 attacks – leaving behind their cars, clothes, furniture and food in the refrigerator. A senior counterterrorism agent said authorities later found phone records and gatehouse security records that linked the home of Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji to 9/11 hijackers, including Mohamed Atta.

The FBI kept its Sarasota investigation secret for a decade. Former Sen. Graham has said the FBI did not disclose it to either the Joint Inquiry or the original 9/11 Commission.

An April 2002 FBI report released by the FBI during the litigation confirmed that account, saying agents found “many connections” between the Sarasota Saudis and “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.” The FBI has since sought to discredit that report, saying the unnamed agent who wrote it had no basis for doing so.

The lawsuit forced the FBI to review 1,858 pages of records and to release parts of 713 pages. The FBI withheld 1,145 pages.

“The FBI violated FOIA by failing to respond to the Bulldog’s request for the Meese Commission records,” said Julin. “The Bulldog would not have gotten any of the records if it had not filed the lawsuit.”

The FBI PowerPoint pages Judge Altonaga has now ruled should remain under wraps include:

  • Two pages titled “Funding of the 9/11 Attacks” and “Early to Mid-2001 Additional Funding”
  • Pages titled: “Early to Mid-2000: Pilots/Intended Pilots Arrive U.S.”; “Investigative Findings” regarding hijacker “Identification” and “Financial. Ample Financing was provided”; “Early to Mid-2001: Non-pilots arrive U.S.”; “July-August 2001: Knife Purchases”; “August 2001: Reserving 9/11 Tickets”
  • Four pages titled “Ongoing Investigation”

Who bankrolled the 9/11 attacks is the central question at issue in complex civil litigation in New York in which 9/11 victims – survivors and relatives of the nearly 3,000 dead and businesses that suffered property damage – are seeking enormous damages from the oil-rich monarchy of Saudi Arabia. The country has denied any role in funding the September 11 attacks.

Seeking 9/11 Review Commission files

Florida Bulldog, through its corporate parent Broward Bulldog Inc., sued the FBI in June 2016, seeking records of the 9/11 Review Commission, a congressionally authorized body whose duties included reviewing new evidence not considered by Congress or the original 9/11 Commission. The Review Commission, whose members were chosen, paid and spoon-fed information by the FBI, issued its report in March 2015.

The FBI released a heavily redacted copy of its 9/11 Overview in February. The FBI cited national security, privacy and other reasons to withhold much information, including Exemption 7(E) of the Freedom of Information Act, which protects law enforcement “techniques and procedures.”

On May 16, Judge Altonaga ruled that the FBI had “failed to meet its burden in establishing Exemption 7(E) applies to the redacted information” in the 9/11 Overview because “much of it does not discuss any FBI investigative techniques and procedures; instead the material often encompasses facts and information gathered FBI suspects.”

In early June, the FBI asked Altonaga to reconsider her ruling, arguing that while the overview doesn’t “discuss techniques and procedures, the information contained in the document could still reveal” them. For example, the FBI said it had withheld a photograph taken by a security camera because its release “would disclose the location of the security camera,” possibly enabling future terrorists to circumvent detection.

Attorneys for Florida Bulldog countered that security measures have changed “immensely” since 9/11 and the government had not shown that security measures “that supposedly would be revealed would be of any utility to future terrorists.”

Altonaga’s new order doesn’t address that argument, but nevertheless sided with the FBI, saying the redactions are “necessary to prevent disclosure of FBI techniques or procedures.”

Former Sen. Graham said what’s happened, including the FBI’s resistance to disclosing classified information about 9/11 and who was behind it, is evidence that the Freedom of Information Act needs significant reform.

“The most fundamental question now is whether the Freedom of Information Act as currently written and administered is a barrier to Americans’ fundamental right to know what their government is doing,” Graham said.

Judge Altonaga’s order requires the government to draft a proposed final summary judgment order for the court’s consideration by July 11.


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Latest comments

  • Dear Florida Bulldog and Revered Florida Bulldog Readers:

    This is a shocking setback, in my opinion, for mankind, and for national security.

    It is frightening to me that entities can usurp power within the United States Government, and can violate the law with impunity, and can coverup the evidence of their crimes with impunity.

    No U.S. citizen is safe when even a high-ranking former U.S. Senator cannot obtain justice from the Courts.

    This is a frightening potential game changer, so all of us must now resolve to continue this struggle, to expose the horrible truths, of illegal usurpation of power by entities within our government.

    We all know that Saudi Arabia was deeply involved in funding the 9/11 attack.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  • Good to hear that an appeal is being considered.

  • Dear Florida Bulldog and Revered Florida Bulldog Readers:

    It seems very clear to me that Honorable Judge Altonaga’s ruling violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the American people, and the United States Congress, in overwhelmingly voting last year to enact J.A.S.T.A. — the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

    As we recall, this Federal law allows the victims (families) of the 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia for its role in the 9/11 attack.

    I urge The Florida Bulldog to file its own Motion to Reconsider, mentioning the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Statute, urging Honorable Judge Altonaga to return to her original rulings, and to allow the Freedom of Information Act trial to proceed.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  • It’s strange that a judge who seems so smart would fall for the obvious and lame lies of the FBI.

  • Who got to her?

  • Really is a setback of our freedom. Hopefully an appeal is seriously being considered. Should a national funding source be implemented to pursue the truth in these docs?

  • CASE CLOSED…Well this really sucks, after all the time, money and effort by the Florida Bulldog and their attorneys. Hell, even the far left liberal BBC World News filmed and broadcast a documentary last fall about the Broward Bulldog and their efforts to expose Saudi Arabia as the money behind 9/11, see

    The Clerk is instructed to mark this case as CLOSED
    DONE AND ORDERED in Miami, Florida this 29th day of June, 2017


  • The Neocons planned and executed the attacks of 9/11 with the help of a subgroup within the Pentagon, MI6, Mossad and the Saudi monarchy.
    The level of willful ignorance and shameless apathy is mind-boggling.
    There is so much misinformation and disinformation. However, in the age of the internet, ignorance is a choice.
    The Neocons did 9/11.

    Ever since at least 1980, We the People of planet Earth have had the capability of providing the highest quality of food, the highest quality of clothing, the highest quality of shelter, the highest quality of healthcare, and the highest quality of education for each and every man, woman and child on the face of the Earth, and to do it in such a way that was in Harmony with Nature.

    We already have gazillions of creative practical solutions.

    What we don’t have here in the USA is at least 80% of the progressive electorate (110 million citizens || there are no more than 14 million at the moment) who are well-informed, free of disinformation and misinformation, on all the major issues of today AND devoting their time, energy, talents and resources to make sure that only the most Loving and most Wise among us become our public servants.

    Then and only then will we finally be in a position to transition to a Whole New Way of Living rooted in Love and Wisdom, with no need for government.

    i am waking up and mentoring around 10 new uninformed/misinformed individuals every week. It’s imperative that each and every one of us, without exception, does so too.

    Here is my proposal:
    First the cities, then the states, then the nation and then the world.
    Creating a Wonderful World. (let’s get it done already).

  • There is nothing Honorable about Cecilia Altonaga. She is a study in judicial cowardice. Just another corrupt decision by yet another corrupt court

  • This, just ‘the next’ chapter in the on-going 911 cover-up. Altonaga should recuse herself as ‘conflicted.’ Nominated Circuit Court Judge by Jeb Bush ’99 and a seat on U.S. District Court by the odious pretender George W. in 2003 means this Judge is running protection on the 911 False Flag.

    Were those secretive ‘techniques and procedures for law enforcement’ the same ones ‘crowdstrike’ refused FBI the Clinton hard drives with I wonder ?

  • And just so we understand the levels of moral ‘distortion’ required to exist in the ‘Judicial/FBI’ realm; here is another example :

    “Surprisingly, the network of nearly 90,000 individuals is not the largest bust in history, as another online Darknet pedophile platform called Playpen was dismantled earlier this year, and 58-year-old American Steven Chase sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. Chase was held responsible for the existence of Playpen, a child pornography network established in 2014, which had 150,000 active pedophiles on the site.
    The Playpen case was extremely controversial, as the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledged in court filings that the FBI ACTUALLY OPERATED the site, themselves, from Feb. 20 to March 4, 2015.
    Moreover, in a move that left many in dismay, the Department of Justice filed a motion in Washington State federal court to dismiss an indictment against the child porn site.
    According to a report in Wired: It wasn’t for lack of evidence; it was because the FBI didn’t want to disclose details of a hacking tool to the defense as part of discovery. Evidence in United States v. Jay Michaud hinged at least in part on information federal investigators had gathered by exploiting a vulnerability in the Tor anonymity network.
    “Because the government remains unwilling to disclose certain discovery related to the FBI’s deployment of a ‘Network Investigative Technique’ (‘NIT’) as part of its investigation into the Playpen child pornography site, the government has no choice but to seek dismissal of the indictment,” federal prosecutor Annette Hayes wrote in the court filing on Friday.”

  • Who has the gate records for Prestancia? Don’t u think it is time that they are published. I would like to see who was visiting at the time Al hijji lived there. Hijackers or no Hijackers his friendship with Wissam Hammoud and possibly Adnan ElShukrijiumah necessitates it

  • If you know anything about 9/11 truth, you know Sen. Graham is a suspect. If and when we get these documents exposed, it would only be a teeny sliver of the story. They are still controlling the narrative, Even the Honorable Mr. Graham, who is now hedging his bets, is hiding plenty.
    He appears at 9 min 22 sec. I recommend the whole 10 minute clip, which is only half of the documentary.

  • It is beyond the slightest shadow of doubt that Israeli agents had foreknowledge of the 911 attacks, and, together with scientific forensic proof of controlled demolitions of WTC 1, 2 and 7.

    The very first people arrested on suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 attacks turned out to be five Israeli Jews: Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg (Sivan’s brother), Oded Ellner, Yaron Shmuel and Omer Marmari. Their white Urban Moving Systems van was stopped and they were arrested within hours of the attacks, on the afternoon of 9/11/01. Sivan Kurzberg, Ellner and Shmuel had been observed by several eyewitnesses at the rear parking lot of the Doric apartment complex in Union City, New Jersey. They were seen atop the van with cameras, high-fiving, smiling, joking with cries of joy and mockery, hugging each other, and taking photographs and video of the Twin Towers within a few minutes of the first plane impact.

    Marc Perelman of New York’s Jewish weekly The Forward reported on March 15, 2002 that the FBI had concluded that at least two of the Israelis were agents working for the Mossad, and their employer Urban Moving Systems Incorporated was a suspected intelligence front. On September 14, 2001, Urban’s owner Dominick Suter fled the U.S. for Israel. Perelman also tells on video of how he was able to confirm that, according to the FBI, two of the five Israelis were “Mossad agents”. Christopher Ketcham says the transcripts of the Carl Cameron report were later removed from the Fox News website following pressure from Abe Foxman of the ADL, and replaced with the rather Orwellian message: “This story no longer exists”.

    When arrested, the Israelis – dubbed the “High-Fivers” by the FBI – were found to have airline tickets with immediate travel dates for destinations world-wide, and tie-ins to 9/11. Dual US-Israeli citizen Michael Chertoff, who co-authored the USA Patriot Act” and headed the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in the aftermath of 9/11, is a prime suspect for pulling strings to get the Israelis released and sent home.

  • All you have to do is look at who has appointed all the Judges for the last 37 years.

    In the case of Cecilia Altonaga…

    “Appointed by: George W. Bush”

    Make sense now?

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